The House of Fu story begins in 1996 when head chef Ben Iley started working in the bars and restaurants of Leeds. Ben spent a few years jumping between some of the city’s best restaurants but became disillusioned and unhappy with the quality of the Ramen he was producing and decided to visit Tokyo and spend a month seeking direction and inspiration.
Ben fell instantly love with the city it’s culture and one month turned into 9 years during which time he worked at some of the country’s top restaurants including Aquavit, The Tokyo American Club and Fujimamas (where he met his wife, Masayo!) and with some world renowned chefs including Marcus Samuelsson, Bill Granger and most notably a short stint with Ivan Orkin, the chef behind the internationally renowned Ivan Ramen.
Ben returned to Leeds with his wife and young family in 2014. He started working with one of the team behind Belgrave Music Hall at Whitelocks Alehouse before they discovered a shared love of broth, noodles and gyoza and a plan started to form.
The House of Fu concept then began life in 2014 as a pop-up at Belgrave Music Hall and it went on to win ‘Best of the Best’ at that year’s British Street food awards. The pop-up went on to appear at various venues and music festivals as the team looked to develop the concept with inspirational trips to New York, Tokyo, Portland and Los Angeles.
Potential sites came and went over the next few years until the perfect space became available right next door to Ox Club where Ben had been head chef for over 3 years! Surely all that could stop them now was a global pandemic!
Whilst the team have taken influences from L.A and Tokyo the venue is firmly rooted in the local, independent community. Our handmade, bespoke tableware has been produced by local ceramic studio Sunken Studios which is only a ten minute walk from the restaurant. Our bespoke tables and terrazzo planters have been created by local designers Three Create whilst the team have also commissioned hand-painted murals by Bobbi Rae from Leeds collective Bearcubs and neon installations from Wakefield-based studio Neon Workshops.